About Paula

Paula Brown of Blue Octopus Play Therapy

On this page you can find out more about me and how I work with children who need support.

My Approach

I am a qualified Play Therapist working in Bristol. Play therapy supports children, helping them to cope with their big feelings. This is largely because play helps children who find it hard to talk directly about their concerns.

My Interests

I have grown to understand how children learn to bond with the adults around them. I have gained this deep understanding of ‘attachment theory’ from working with young children as a nursery teacher and also from working with adopted children.

I am also interested in all types of trauma, from everyday stresses to life-changing experiences. I witnessed how trauma affects people’s nervous systems as well as their feelings and behaviour.

Most of all, though, I love the deep connection that comes from working with children or watching them experience joy.

Blue Octopus

Blue Octopus is my independent play therapy service which I offer privately from the playroom in my home. I also work in community organisations and in schools. My work includes helping parents to support their children as I fully appreciate how challenging parenting a distressed child can be.

My business is called Blue Octopus because I love octopi. They are creative, intelligent, flexible and think on their feet. They also remind me of the sea which can be calm and clear or wild and tempestuous, just like us!

My Experience

Alongside my experience of working in therapy, I have many years of experience with children as a nursery teacher, children’s storyteller, playworker, youth worker, childminder, movement facilitator and educational writer. I am also a parent and step-parent. Additionally, I have trained and supported adults in many of these roles.

I report to a supervisor who checks that my work adheres to appropriate ethical standards. This helps me to work effectively and accountably. I regularly write for the play therapy journal Play for Life and campaign for children’s mental health services via my MP and other bodies.

I invest in my own continuing professional development. As such, I have undertaken various training courses with recent examples being courses on brain development, sensory processing and trauma recovery.

Building Relationships

My approach to play therapy is to help children work through obstacles so that they can achieve their full potential. I do love a clever academic theory on how best to do this. However, my main focus is on building a relationship with the child or young person and their families. In order to do that, I try to understand their passions and interests as well as their challenges and difficulties.

Me As a Human!

Outside of my work I love running, cooking and dancing (though not at the same time!). I enjoy learning to sing in a local choir and help run a children’s running group and a local youth group. I also run various storytelling events. My favourite rainy afternoon might involve a roast dinner with family and friends after a good walk, followed by board games and a good film.

The Nuts and Bolts

I am DBS checked, insured, registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office regarding data protection and I am PTUK registered. I hold a Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy and a Post Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play (both with distinction) accredited through Leeds Beckett university and Play Therapy UK (which is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA)). I have regular supervision. Contact me for more information.

What others say

“Paula spent time getting to know our daughter through her play therapy sessions. She used creative strategies to engage her and encouraged honest and open discussions. My daughter blossomed through Paula’s gentle encouragement and therapeutic input. We also benefitted as a family, Paula kept us informed (whilst respecting confidentiality) and also gave us strategies we could use at home. I really believe that Paula’s input had a huge positive impact on my daughter’s confidence and relationships… it also made my husband and myself reflect on our relationship with her and each other. Highly recommend, thank you Paula.” A parent of an 8-year-old child.

“Paula is amazing, professional and dedicated” Play Therapy at Wallscourt Farm Academy primary school.

“You have such a lovely manner with the children – full of humour and gentleness.” T, mum of 4-year-old boy.

“Paula is fabulous!” M, 8-years-old.

“You are fantastic with children, so calm and unruffled” A, dad of a 10-year-old.

Thank you for such an amazing session, it taught me a lot about how to play with her.” A Mum about a parent-and-child attachment-focussed session.

“It makes me feel calm” 9-year-old boy describing the playroom.

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